Monday, July 16, 2012

Semolina Bread for Tuesdays with Dorie!

This summer has been so very busy that this week's Tuesdays with Dorie post really snuck up on me! It's such an honor to host for such a lovely recipe and it's one I'm really glad I didn't miss. The opportunity to bake (even in this heat) is always a welcome reprieve from other obligations, yes? So check out the other posts and definitely hop on over to the website of the other host who is such a  talented blogger!

Semolina bread is so very simple, so very therapeutic to bake, and so very versatile. This particular recipe has quite a bit of salt in it but this didn't bother me so much seeing as my little plan for this loaf was to eat it by itself with a little balsamic, olive oil, and a special herb blend. For this purpose, it was absolutely perfect and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Allow for two hours in between each step for this recipe, which otherwise requires minimal work, and you'll have a fabulous accompaniment to any meal! Don't worry if it doesn't puff up like a normal loaf. In this heat and in my real-life, no-AC kitchen, this little baby was rather deflated-looking which had me worried, but it turned out just fine! Keep plugging away! That's what Julia would do. And don't we all just want to feel that much closer to her?

1 cup warm water
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Pour the warm water and yeast into a medium bowl.  Whisk to combine.  When the yeast has dissolved and is creamy, about 5 minutes, stir in the flour.

Cover the bowl and let it rest at room temperature until the sponge doubles in volume, about 2 hours.

the sponge (above)
1/2 to 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup semolina flour
2 tsp salt
1 tbs olive oil

To make the dough in a food processor:
Scrape the sponge into a food processor fitted with a metal blade.  Add 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour and the rest of the ingredients and pulse on and off until the dough forms a ball on the blade.  If the dough doesn't form a ball, add another 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour a tablespoon at a time, pulsing to mix it in.  Let the dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes, then process for a full 20 seconds.  The dough will be sticky.

To make the dough in a mixer:
Scrape the sponge into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook.  Add 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour and the rest of the ingredients (be sure to chop the rosemary very finely because you won't have the blade of the food processor to help you chop it further).  Mix on medium speed until you have a dough that is smooth and elastic, but somewhat sticky, about 5 minutes.  If the dough is too soft, add up to 1/4 cup more of the all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

First rise
Turn the dough into an oiled bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in volume, about 2 hours.

Shaping and second rise
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and deflate it by flattening it with your palms.  Pat the dough into a rough oval shape and then roll it, from one long side to the other, to form a plump loaf.  Tuck the ends under and transfer the loaf to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Cover it lightly with oiled plastic wrap and allow it to rest until it doubles in volume again, about 2 hours.

Baking the bread
Holding a single edged razor or sharp serrated knife at a 30-degree angle to the loaf, slash lines up and over the width of the loaf.  The lines should be at an angle and about an inch away from each other.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until deeply golden or an instant read thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf reads 210 degrees.  Transfer the bread toa  rack and cool completely.

The bread can be kept at room temperature for a day; cover it loosely with plastic wrap.  For longer storage, wrap it airtight and freeze for up to one month.  Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.